Customer Review

20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great title so far, some interesting systems since the last game in the series, March 16, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Tales of Graces f - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
UPDATED REVIEW (4/2/2012)

I've found most of my original comments still stand. If anything, I have been more impressed with the game as time goes on.

Could the graphics be better? Sometimes, yeah, especially with architecture. But the watercolor effect the game uses for textures still looks quite good and the models for characters and enemies are well done and generally are just quite charming. I'd love if this was redone entirely for the PS3, but with very, very rare exceptions I haven't even found myself noticing.

As time goes on, some of the voices do become tiresome. A lot of the random NPC voices just sound goofy and some of the other main characters just seem strangely cast. Some sound overly robotic at times too, although I suspect a lot of the time this is due to a story element I'm not quite clear on yet (I've not finished the game, but I'm a good 18 hours in).

I really love the battle system and have found myself enjoying it significantly more than others in the series (I'm playing Tales of the Abyss on 3DS alongside this, for example). I love that you don't have to worry about a finite TP bar that can be a pain in the ass to regenerate. The CC system this game uses instead, at least to me, is just far more involving and interesting. As I've mentioned before, I feel like it requires more finesse on your part. I found the game to be a bit too easy on Moderate -- I personally recommend setting it to Hard off the bat. But what's nice is that after boss battles, you're given the option to retry the battle and can change the difficulty settings and your character setup. So you rarely have any wasted time there (at least on these difficultly levels, I can't speak of Evil or Chaos yet -- although I've unlocked the former), although if you lose to a standard enemy that's the end!

The crafting system becomes fairly more complex as new options are added in. You're given new options to combine equipment with special items, temper that equipment and then extract gems with stats on them. More importantly, you're eventually given access to something called a Eleth Mixer. This has its own set of rules, but it essentially allows you to create items outside of battle (based on how far you travel) and items in battle (based on fulfilling certain needs like getting >30 a hit combo). It's actually fairly interesting and it allows you to craft items that are otherwise fairly difficult to find in the field and makes you feel a bit more invested in bothering to craft (dualize) in the first place.

As far as the story goes, I think it's really ramped up. The game is admittedly fairly slow at first, but I expect that from any general "intro" in these titles. But I will say I've found some of the story "complaints" to be slightly surprising. Many professional reviews talk about how this game goes on and on about "true friends!. And to some extent that is true. But few, if any, seem to mention that this shifts pretty dramatically several hours in -- it never goes away entirely, but I have to say given what reviews led me to expect I was surprised to see that the story got fairly dark and dramatic. The characters aren't quite as two-dimensional as it might seem initially -- and this is coming from someone who rarely enjoys the typical JRPG/anime tropes we see in these types of games.

Overall I'm very happy with the game. I'd greatly recommend it.

ORIGINAL REVIEW

I'm only several hours in, but I figured a review at this stage could be of use. Overall, the game is great and offers what I imagine most Tales fans want. Still, there were some notable things I would have wanted to know:

1.) Initially I was a bit confused by the battle system, as I expected it to be very similar to the last few Tales games I had played. It's not like Tales of Symphonia or Tales of Vesperia, for example. There's not a dedicated TP/MP/whatever bar for skills; instead you have a new, very small meter (that expands via equipment) that's constantly regenerating depending on what you do in battle (evading attacks, charging abilities, chaining things together). Once you get used to it, you'll realize it's quite well done and does require a level of finesse. I felt like I could get away with a lot of random mashing in games like Vesperia (at least on normal difficulty) and that seems a lot less likely here.

The way Artes are applied is a bit different as well. It uses a skill tree - some skills are gated behind others. I'm not a pro at it yet, but from what I can tell this means you have to do a skill from List A before you can launch into one from List B, etc. It's possible this was in another Tales game, but I've not played one with this concept.

2.) The game only offers Semi-Auto and Auto modes initially. In the first town, you can buy a book for 500 Gald that enables manual mode. No idea why they did this.

The game offers various battle difficulties from the start. You can also unlock Evil difficulty through gameplay (I think after so many battles on Hard), and Chaos after 300 battles on Evil. There are incentives to use higher difficulty settings. You get more bonuses and I'd say the game is a bit more rewarding.

The game has trophies based upon difficulty settings. Just know that you are awarded the trophy only based on killing the last boss. This means you can play the entire game on Easy, change the difficulty for the boss and still get the trophy.

If you do lose a boss battle, you're offered a few options which include the ability to retry the battle and change the difficulty.

3.) There's no Japanese voices in the game. I find this a lot less excusable on Blu-rays. The space is obviously available. I personally don't mind the English voice overs, they're on par with Vesperia.

4.) Graphically this clearly looks better than the Wii original. You can tell what they've redone or improved. Animation overall is excellent and the game looks quite good in HD. That said, there are still places where textures are notably poor or areas where you know this would have looked better if the 360 or PS3 were the lead platform. Overall, I would say Vesperia is a far better looking game... but Graces f still is far from unattractive.

Overall, though, I've found the game entertaining, the systems interesting and everything in general just fun. I'd recommend it to fans of the series.
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Comments


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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 16, 2012 5:13:24 PM PDT
Metragoon says:
I have the JP version of the game, but I just wanted to say nice review! :)

Posted on Mar 18, 2012 11:03:50 AM PDT
Jiyuu says:
Just a note.

You can find the "manual book" in a chest. It's located in one of the shacks outside of town - those random wood houses. I don't remember which one, but you need not waste the money if you tend to be the kind that explores everything.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 2, 2012 11:08:31 AM PDT
GJ says:
Cool, thank you. I wonder if I picked it up and didn't notice or what. I still find it odd that it's not just a basic option, though.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 4:38:18 PM PDT
Last game in the series? Do you mean most recent? Tales of Xillia was released in Japan recently and is so far one of the highest scoring games of all time by Famitsu. Bandai Namco is only localizing it if they sell enough copies of this title.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 23, 2012 6:49:24 PM PST
GJ says:
I meant "last" as in the one that was released previous to this one in the US. Not last meaning "final". Sorry for the confusion.
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